Wandering China

An East/West pulse of China's fourth rise from down under.

Singapore: 2 top Malay students score in Chinese too


Thumbs up for the teaching of Mandarin in Singapore?

Quotable Quotes – “…Singapore is a predominantly Chinese society and that it would be easier for someone who knows Chinese to get a job.” Mr Lenny Allen Latiff, 50, parent of Lucille Annabelle Latiff, one of two top Malay students for her GCE ‘O’ Level results.

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2 top Malay students score in Chinese too
Top brains from all races post sterling results
By Leow Si Wan
Source – Straits Times, 12 Jan 2010

Lucille Annabelle Latiff scored seven A1s and an A2 to become one of the top Malay students. Her father Lenny Allen Latiff was so overjoyed, he put his work aside to meet her. -- ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM

Lucille Annabelle Latiff scored seven A1s and an A2 to become one of the top Malay students. Her father Lenny Allen Latiff was so overjoyed, he put his work aside to meet her. -- ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM

TWO of the three top-performing Malay students in last year’s GCE O levels have a few things in common.

For starters, Lucille Annabelle Latiff of Crescent Girls’ School and Shazana Zaihan of Ngee Ann Secondary School turned in identical scores – seven A1s and an A2.

The two 16-year-olds also took Chinese as their second language, although for different reasons.

For Shazana, it was because she had someone at home able to help her with it – her mother Chow Sow May.

The 50-year-old administrative assistant had decided that all her five daughters, aged 13 to 22, would study Chinese.

She said: ‘I can’t speak Malay well and their father is often busy at work, so if they took Chinese, I could help them in the language.’

For Lucille, who is of Malay-Eurasian-Filipino parentage, taking Chinese was a decision her father made for practical reasons.

Mr Lenny Allen Latiff, 50, said that Singapore is a predominantly Chinese society and that it would be easier for someone who knows Chinese to get a job.

Mr Latiff, who has another daughter in Secondary 1, took time off work after Lucille called him with her results.

He said: ‘I was so overjoyed I put all my work aside and told my colleagues that I had to go meet my daughter.’

Neither Lucille nor Shazana has decided which junior college to opt for, but both are enjoying a break from swotting for the exams.

Shazana said: ‘I was studying practically every day, from classes in the day to study sessions at night. I am so happy everything is over so I can have fun before working hard again.’

Both their teachers spoke well of them: Lucille’s English teacher Rupa Beng Choo said she was a good role model, and Shazana’s form teacher Sharon Ong described her as determined and responsible.

The third top Malay student, 16-year-old Sarah Raihanah Saifuddin of Methodist Girls’ School, also bagged seven A1s and an A2.

Among the four top Indian students, three hail from India.

Jalla Anisha from Methodist Girls’ School and Kunal Kiran Kekre from St Joseph’s Institution, both 16 and permanent residents here for more than 10 years, each scored eight A1s and an A2.

Kunal said he was delighted about achieving his goal of scoring an aggregate of six for his L1R5 – English and five other relevant subjects.

Mohan Jishnu, 16, who enrolled at St Joseph’s Institution when he arrived here from India two years ago, scored nine A1s. He has already called his family in Mumbai with the news.

The lone Singaporean in this quartet, 16-year-old Pratyusha Mukherjee of Bukit Panjang Government High School, also bagged straight A1s in nine subjects.

The two top Eurasian students, Dean Hunt of Nan Chiau High School and Brandon Joshua Thomasz of Victoria School, obtained seven A1s each.

Dean, who is part-Eurasian and part-Chinese, was born in London and came here at age four.

The 16-year-old – who took Chinese as a second language – is eyeing a good university down the road – ‘probably Oxford or Cambridge’ – but wants to work in Singapore eventually.

He said: ‘I always strive to do more, so I can prove to myself that I can be better.’

Saying he drew inspiration from a classmate who zipped to the top of the class after having finished last the previous year, he added: ‘I got such great results because of the friendly competition in school. I am always inspired by my classmates. There is this positive pressure to do my best.’

siwan@sph.com.sg

Additional reporting by Mavis Goh

Filed under: Education, Singapore, Straits Times

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